Saturday, January 30, 2016

Veteran Caregiver Stipends Dropped 7,000 Families

Reminder; this program was for only post 9-11 veterans and their families. Older ones, waiting even longer for help were not part of this. We didn't matter.
Veterans’ caregivers lose VA stipends, struggle to understand why
The Olympian
Adam Ashton
January 29, 2016
So far, about 7,000 veterans who once were enrolled in the program no longer are getting stipends. About a third were cut because VA staff members determined they did not meet medical criteria for the support.
For some, caregiver stipends validated work at home with loved ones

Overall program growing at a fast pace, adding 400 caregivers every month

Advocates notice more complaints, but unsure what’s behind changes
Alisha McNulty of Olympia received a stipend from the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2012 to help her family care for her husband, Jared, an Iraq veteran with post-traumatic stress. The family lost the benefit in December. She and her husband do not understand why. Steve Bloom sbloom@theolympian.com
For three years, a monthly stipend of $1,275 from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs gave Sarah Jenkins the freedom to care for her husband without having to worry about resuming her career.

That let her keep a calm home and respond instantly if her veteran husband experienced one of the mood swings that have characterized his behavior since a group of mortars landed close to him on an Iraqi air field.

The checks abruptly stopped in August when the VA declared her family no longer needed them. Jenkins is still trying to figure out why.

“How am I going to keep him still feeling safe? That’s what the caregiver program has enabled me to do — to keep him feeling safe,” said Jenkins, 39, whose family recently moved to their hometown in North Idaho after spending the previous 17 years in Roy and Yelm.
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